US formulating Energy Policy

The Bush administration has appointed former ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond and the National Petroleum Council to chart America’s energy future.

Lee Raymond, chair of the National Petroleum Council, is to provide the administration with policy recommendations for the long-term direction of the nation’s energy policy. As chair, Mr. Raymond was granted the power to handpick the study’s leadership.

Why should we care? In the 1990s, Exxon Mobil began a multi-million dollar subversive disinformation campaign to undermine the science on global warming and delay action. The company vocally opposes U.S. energy independence and presses for deeper reliance on oil-producing nations such as Saudi Arabia where the company has sunk heavy investments. Raymond denies that oil dependence is a problem, and he considers renewable energy an uneconomical investment.

Royal Society tells Exxon: stop funding climate change denial

The Guardian (UK) describes the letter sent by Britain’s leading scientists to ExxonMobil about efforts to undermine the research that shows that global warming is real. As I wrote in an earlier  post about big tobacco’s denial, this is a familiar scenario — a hugely profitable company trying to protect its profit stream by any means possible.

Britain’s leading scientists have challenged the US oil company ExxonMobil to stop funding groups that attempt to undermine the scientific consensus on climate change.

In an unprecedented step, the Royal Society, Britain’s premier scientific academy, has written to the oil giant to demand that the company withdraws support for dozens of groups that have "misrepresented the science of climate change by outright denial of the evidence".

The scientists also strongly criticise the company’s public statements on global warming, which they describe as "inaccurate and misleading".

The groups, such as the US Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), whose senior figures have described global warming as a myth, are expected to launch a renewed campaign ahead of a major new climate change report. The CEI responded to the recent release of Al Gore’s climate change film, An Inconvenient Truth, with adverts that welcomed increased carbon dioxide pollution. (Link: Royal Society tells Exxon: stop funding climate change denial | EnergyBulletin.net | Peak Oil News Clearinghouse)

Exxon’s behavior is consistently arrogant: they still haven’t paid the fine for the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska in 1989. In 1994, courts ordered Exxon to pay $5.3 billion in compensatory damages to fishers, Native Americans, and others whose lives and livelihoods were disrupted by the spill. So far, however, Exxon has refused to pay the judgment, stalling by filing appeals while the Alaskans must overcome their financial losses from their own pockets. Even if Exxon is eventually required to pay the fine plus late fees, it will profit financially by holding on to the money and earning interest on it as long as possible. In January 2006, Exxon Mobil Corp. posted record profits of $10.71 billion for the fourth quarter and $36.13 billion for the year — the largest annual reported net income in U.S. history.

Surprisingly, I did find some good news about Exxon: it has contributed to an effort to save the endangered real-life counterparts of Exxon’s animated mascot. Exxon states on its web site that: "Exxon and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a nonprofit conservation organization, joined forces in 1995 to launch the Save The Tiger Fund. The fund is an international effort to help save Asia’s dwindling populations of tigers in the wild. Exxon has pledged $9 million over eight years to tiger conservation." Interestingly, one of the greatest threats to tiger survival is habitat loss, a problem exacerbated by the biological stresses of global warming. (I like to see Tiger Woods honor his namesake with some financial aid and supportive publicity.)

Siberian Tiger (P. tigris altaica)